Governor Brown Signs Skinner’s SB 338: Aims to Meet Peak Electricity Needs at Low Cost, Low Carbon

October 1, 2017

Sacramento, State Capitol - This weekend, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 338, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

To date, California has succeeded in generating clean, renewable electricity without seeing significant increases in electricity costs. SB 338 is aimed at ensuring that as renewable energy generation grows the state’s peak electricity needs can be met at low cost and low carbon. Specifically, SB 338 directs California’s utilities to rely on energy efficiency, demand management, energy storage and other strategies to meet peak electricity needs.

“California can demonstrate that a low-cost, low-carbon grid is possible 24/7,” said Senator Nancy Skinner. “With efficiency, demand reduction and energy storage, we can lessen the need to meet peak demand with fossil fueled and other power generation."

California energy planners project the need for more fossil fuel – mostly natural gas – power plants as well as excess renewable generation to provide electricity when demand spikes or when renewable sources are generating intermittently. As a result, the US Energy Information Administration estimates that by 2020 the ‘double-building’ of power generation could have California producing 21% more electricity than is needed. The cost of excess generation and any related new transmission is then passed on to the ratepayer. SB 338 will help avoid this scenario by encouraging utilities to employ lower cost strategies and strategies that utilize existing generation. Under SB 338, utilities will consider demand management, energy storage, and energy efficiency to reduce the need to build new fossil fuel power plants and other excess generation.

“Shifting demand, using energy efficiently and storing renewable energy for when we need it most will help avoid costly new transmission and generation and save money for California rate payers,” said Senator Skinner.

Senate Bill 338 goes into effect in January 2018.